Gladys entered the room and sat on Joan’s mattress. She placed the pillow in between her thighs, "That way, I won't be heart broken," she said.
"What do you think? Should I give her a call right now?" Sam asked.
"No, we'll go and see her tomorrow," Juliet replied.
"But wait! You mean to tell me that you saw Harry, when?"
"When I boarded a cab to the police station, I didn’t notice he was the one driving. He took me away.”
Gladys and Sam were surprised to hear that.
"I didn’t know what happened afterwards; I just saw myself tied to a bedpost with chains.”
"What did that bastard do to you?" Sam asked in anger.
"Nothing, he didn't do anything."
Gladys shook her head in disbelief, "Hope you're not becoming another Joan? I pray he doesn’t make me his next target.”
"Sam called Betsy to confirm the identity of the father of the unborn child. It was James.”
Betsy returned with Joan who had been drowning in a pool of tears. She fell heavily on Juliet's divan and covered her face with a pillow.
Juliet went over to her and sat next to her.
"You have to be calm. Don't let this bother you."
She cried on.
"This is not just about me; I've ruined everything between you guys because of my..."
"Joan, it isn't your fault."
"Then whose is it?"
"No one knows, maybe this is about fate."
They all plugged their eyes on her.
Juliet sat in the living room while Sam went over to call his mum. She was impressed by the luxury of the room. Her eyes caught a picture frame and she stood up to it; a family picture of Sam, Linda, their father, and her own mother! Their mother⁉
"Look who we have here," Linda said as she entered the room.
Juliet turned to face her with a forced smile.
"Hem... Haw... Lin- Linda..."
Linda frowned, "What's wrong?"
Juliet tried to move but her legs buckled and she fell. Linda rushed to her aid and made to help her stand on her feet but she resisted. Tears dropped from her eyes almost immediately.
"Juliet, what's the matter?"
Mrs. Douglas entered in a really presentable form, but on seeing Juliet, she rubbed her eyes.
Sam and Linda stood aside, watching...
Mrs Douglas moved towards Juliet and made to touch her but she shoved her hand away. She sprang up, got her bag from the cushion and darted out of the house.
Juliet got back to the hostel and tears poured out unhindered. Joan got up from her bed and sat next to her.
"Is she your mum?" she asked.
Gladys got up from her sleep too but laid still on her bunk bed.
"Joan, that woman is heartless. She forgot about me!" Juliet said amidst tears.
"Don't judge her, you have to hear her side of the story first. Who knows if it was your dad's fault? Didn't you say she's such a great mother?"
"What on earth could father have said that would make her forget about me totally? She's heartless! I hate myself right now."
"Juliet, this is what fate has shaped our lives into, it's our responsibility to make it right."
Juliet sat up and wiped the tears away.
"Joan, what exactly happened between you and James?” She asked, “Have you wronged him in anyway?"
Joan looked away into space as she began to narrate her story.
"Trey is my very close friend from childhood. A very beautiful girl who possessed all virtues. My brother loved to play with her too, but it grew into love, which he never told her about.
"On the other hand, James was my brother's friend too. In the course of time, he also developed affections for Trey, having taken me as his sister. James was such a sweet guy back then, but everything changed when he confessed his love to Trey, and she refused.”
She added, “When I discovered that he was trying to win her heart, I told my brother; I never knew James overheard me. My brother in turn proposed love to Trey, and she gave in. James felt cheated and got really mad. He swore to take revenge. He promised to have Trey by all means. Despite our pleas, he left. He stopped being my brother's friend. That was the last time we saw him.
As fate would have it, we met again here in school. He never threatened me again so I thought everything had returned to normalcy. Three weeks ago, he bumped into my path with a decent smile. My heart skipped. Hours later, I found myself on a bed.”
She continued, "Gladys, you are so fortunate to pass out your anger on Sam after what you two had. Didn't that make you feel like a woman? But mine was different; James laughed at me, he made me feel like a worthless toy. I cried bitterly but he felt fulfilled on seeing that he was lucky. He sent me out of his house like a dog."
"That guy must be jailed!" Betsy said.
"But why don't you just tell your brother about this?"
"What will he do? He still loves his friend."
"That's nonsense! Are you saying that he loves him over you?"
"No, but I can't do such a thing. This is my cross, and I’ve got to carry it alone."
"I’ll support you in this, but are you going to let him know?"
“He will soon find out. The news will spread across campus soon."
"We have just little time here left so put your mind at rest."
Someone interrupted their conversation with a knock on the door. It was Sam. On seeing him, the girls began to leave the room one after the other.
Sam stood behind Juliet, "Julie, are you angry at me? Is any of these my fault?"
"No, it’s not your fault; but you have to stay away from us."
"For peace' sake"
Continued on next page...
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